This was originally inspired by How to be a good motorcycle passenger by Starrynight.
Motorcycle sidecars have been around for almost as long as motorcycles. Sidecars come in several forms. Some have an articulated joint that allows the motorcycle to tilt towards or away from the sidecar on turns. Also, the wheel on some sidecars is connected to the rear (drive) wheel, eliminating sidecar steering drag. The sidecar whell is usually parallel to the rear wheel. New, they usually cost between 2000 and 5000 dollars. They are sometimes known as hacks.
Sidecar driving is markedly different from standard motorcycle riding in several ways. The sidecar adds stability to the motorcycle, but also demands more attentive steering. Here is a list of sidecar steering problems and techniques, assuming the sidecar is mounted to the right of the driver:
- Countersteering is not used unless you want to crash.
- When turning right, the sidecar is likely to lift of the ground a little. Momentum causes the sidecar to want to go straight, causing it to lift.
- When braking, the sidecar, having a brakeless wheel, will cause a drift to the left.
- When accelerating, the motorcycle will drift right, unless the sidecar wheel is powered.
- Wobbling is a factor at low speeds.
- The passenger must know how to lean for stability. The passenger always leads away from the direction of the turn.
- During acceleration, the passenger should shift closer to the motorcycle for imporved stability.
- If you are not carrying a passenger, consider putting a weight in the sidecar for stability. Some manufacturers recommend 50-100 pounds.
Sidecars are rising in popularity again. Before buying, take into consideration that sidecars void many warranties. Harley, Honda touring, and Indian do not make accommodations for sidecars. There is now rally racing and motocross racing for sidecars. (www.sidecarcross.com). The passenger rides in the sidecar almost as if it were a chariot, moving to keep the motorcycle balanced and flat. Also, the TT races have been around for about 100 years on the Isle of Man.
Sources: many, many internet sites. The info was rather scattered about. Most helpful: http://www.ural.com, http://www.iomtt.com, and http://www.motorvation.com